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Brooding

Photo by Alison Burrell: https://www.pexels.com/photo/brown-hen-near-white-egg-on-nest-195226/

Brooding chickens means taking care of baby chicks when they are young and need extra warmth and protection. Let’s explore some simple homemade ways and tools to brood chickens both with and without electric lamps:

Brooding with Electric Lamp:

  1. Heat Lamp: An electric heat lamp is a common tool used to keep baby chicks warm. Hang the lamp over the brooding area, making sure it’s high enough to prevent the chicks from getting too hot. Adjust the height as needed to maintain a comfortable temperature.

  2. Brooding Box: Create a brooding box using a large cardboard box or wooden enclosure. Line the bottom with clean bedding material like straw or wood shavings.

  3. Thermometer: Place a thermometer inside the brooding area to monitor the temperature. Chicks need to be kept at around 95°F (35°C) in the first week and gradually decrease the temperature by 5°F (2-3°C) each week until they are fully feathered.

  4. Food and Water: Provide chick feed and fresh water in shallow dishes that are easy for chicks to access. Check the water often to ensure it stays clean.

Brooding without Electric Lamp:

  1. Brooding Hen: If you have a mother hen (broody hen) that is willing to sit on the eggs, you can let her hatch and raise the chicks naturally. Make sure the nesting area is safe from predators and provide food and water nearby.

  2. Brooding Pots: You can use large pots, like clay pots or metal buckets, as brooding areas for small batches of chicks. Fill the pots with bedding material and place them in a warm and sheltered spot.

  3. Insulation: Insulate the brooding area with blankets or hay to keep the chicks warm, especially during chilly nights.

  4. Natural Shelter: If you have a shed or small coop, you can use it as a natural brooding area. Make sure it’s clean, dry, and free from drafts.

Remember, whether you’re using an electric lamp or natural methods, it’s crucial to keep the brooding area clean and provide a safe environment for the chicks. Always wash your hands before handling the chicks, and give them lots of love and care!

Brooding chicks is an exciting experience, and with these simple homemade methods and tools, you can give them a great start in life on your farmstead. Enjoy the journey of raising and caring for these adorable little creatures! 🐥🌱

Resources & Videos:

Here’s a short video showing a 200 chick homebuild simple cheap chicken brooder made from scrap, including a charcoal based heat source and a do/don’t design discussion from a slum in Kenya:

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